The Wide-Area Network has evolved from a data and communications pipeline into a strategic enterprise technology. A number of business and technological factors are driving this significant shift. The enterprise WAN once was little more than an expensive and necessary connection between a branch and headquarters for the applications that the enterprise developed and managed in-house. “It used to be that every application was developed in-house and delivered to end users within the enterprise over an MPLS connection, explains Karl Brown, Senior Director of
Product Marketing for Citrix. “Therefore, the WAN was merely a collection of MPLS links.” Those days, however, are gone. IT and business leaders are starting to realize that organizations don’t have to build and operate everything internally, so they are turning to a new way of delivering technology — Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) — for a variety of business applications. These days many applications are developed and hosted externally, while mobile and branch users are consuming applications in multiple locations.